Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and Russia

Stephen Colbert has some thoughts on the British spy behind the Trump Russia dossier

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert started off his monologue with President Obama's surprise farewell gift to Vice President Joe Biden, made a Franklin Pierce joke, then returned to the big story about the unsubstantiated dossier on President-elect Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia. He noted that since his riff on the dossier Wednesday, media reports have identified the British former MI6 agent who put it together, reportedly for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.

"So a Brit spy named Steele — is he Remington Steele's cousin?" Colbert asked. He called Christopher Steele a "kind of on-the-nose name for a British agent," then disclosed that it's also the name of a gay porn star. "And now Christopher Steele is on the run," Colbert noted; reportedly "he was seen fleeing his home yesterday and asked a neighbor to take care of his cat. Oh, you gotta protect the cat, because Trump is known for grabbing the—" (You can probably provide the punch line.)

Colbert then turned to Trump's press conference on Wednesday, pointing to the pile of apparently blank sheets of paper Trump passed off as documents relinquishing control of his business. "Wow, that is a really big pile of... something," he said. "So it's all just political theater. The press conference even had a best supporting actress, Trump's lawyer, Sheri Dillon. And we know she's extremely qualified because — and this is true — her firm was the 2016 winner of the 'Russia Law Firm of the Year' award."

He ended on the Senate confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick for secretary of state. Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, told the senators he did not recall doing business in Iran and Syria through a European subsidiary, and "reassured the committee that Exxon never lobbied against Iran sanctions," Colbert noted. When a senator held up copies of lobbying reports showing Exxon lobbying four different pieces of legislation on the Iran sanctions — "Oh, that lobbying, yeah, yeah — I thought you meant I was against buildings in Iran having lobbies!" Colbert joked — Tillerson asked if Exxon was lobbying for or against the sanctions. "Well, that's just what you want in a secretary of state," Colbert said: "A guy who's not sure which side he's on." Watch below. Peter Weber